Murder, She Wrote: Season 1, Episode 5

Lovers and Other Killers (18 Nov. 1984)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Whilst in Seattle for a series of lectures, Jessica is drawn into a dangerous case involving a young man accused of murdering his wealthy older lady friend.



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Title: Lovers and Other Killers (18 Nov 1984)

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Episode cast overview:
Jack Kowalski
Dr. Edmund Gerard
Lt. Andrews
Prof. Todd Lowery
David Tolliver
Lory Walsh ...
Lila Schroeder


An intruder kills rich old lady Allison Brevard while burglarizing her townhouse. When Jessica goes to a college to give a mystery writing guest lecture, she takes a secretary for the first time, not an older woman as she expected but bright, charming, extremely efficient student David Tolliver. Just when they celebrated ending the work in a restaurant, the police gets David for questioning about Allison's murder, just because he was seen meeting her and accepted gifts and dinners. Jessica grants David the benefit of the doubt and follows up on a call to meet about an alibi for David with young married Lila Schroeder Kowalski, only to see her collapse murdered. David now has an alibi and admits he saw Lila, secretly because of her hunky but violently jealous husband Jack Kowalski, who claims David wasn't the threat to his marriage. Jessica tells dean Edmund Gerard's secretary Amelia she's not interested romantically in her host, who makes a surprising confession after Jessica is ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

18 November 1984 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was evidently the first regular episode to be filmed, and may have even been a second pilot to the series. This was the only episode produced by Douglas Benton (Robert F. O'Neill is supervising producer; he was producer for the other regular episodes until the fifth season, when he became supervising producer again); the typeface for the opening credits is noticeably larger and whiter than for any other episode; the episode itself contains two sequences for the opening credits not seen in the pilot or in the Jessica-typing sequence (Jessica firing a fake gun for a class and someone pushing Jessica, in silhouette, down a flight of stairs); and the closing credits are run slightly differently: there is a break between each credit card (the series virtually always jumped from one card to another with no breaks). There are also fewer guest stars (seven) on this show than on any other, with several bit players not credited at all (the old society lady killed at the beginning, two Chinese nuns and several classroom students have speaking parts but aren't listed). See more »


David Tolliver refers to Jack Kowalski as Jack Schroeder. See more »


References Lovers and Other Strangers (1970) See more »

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See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"The Truest Lies You've Ever Heard are in Seattle"
9 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wealthy widow Allison Brevard (uncredited actress) meets her fate when an apparent burglar ransacks her Seattle residence during the opening credits to this episode, assaulting her in the process, and leaving her for dead.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), by now a widow, a retired high school English teacher, and established best-selling Mystery author, has garnered international attention through her newfound celebrity, and begins to accept positions such as guest lector far from her hometown of Cabot Cove, Maine, and her publisher's headquarters, in New York City.

Here, after she travels to Seattle, Washington, to accept a mystery writing instructional position, she finds herself in need of a secretary and petitions for a lady of compatible age with herself, but, instead receiving the services of a cheerful, capable and efficient candidate, but male and younger than expected, in the form of student David Tolliver (Andrew Stevens).

Between adjusting to working with David, and conducting meetings with College Dean Doctor Edmund Gerard (Peter Graves) and his secretary, Amelia (Lois Nettleton), Jessica also instructs her forum on crime and mystery, along with visual aids, such as firing a pistol into the auditorium of students, this releasing a banner, reading, "Bang" (a scene often used among opening introductions).

Professor Todd Lowery (Andrew Prine), a fellow instructor at the college, enrolls in Jessica's lecture course, she at times singling him out for profound questioning. Whether or not Todd has anything to hide, he looks and behaves with increasingly guilty reactions.

Lila Schroeder Kowalski (Lory Walsh), the wife of the athletic Jack Kowalski (Grant Goodeve), becomes involved on one level or another, with David Tolliver, Professor Todd Lowery and Doctor Edmund Gerard, whether or not Jack Kowalski becomes aware, but he is known as possessing a volatile temperament.

Law Enforcement Lieutenant Andrews (Greg Morris), arriving on campus to investigate the situating involving Allison Brevard, links David to the crime, while Jessica, although experiencing doubts, maintains his innocence, by affording David the benefit.

But when Jessica attempts to prove David's innocence, by following him into a storage building, she discovers another body, leaving her not knowing quite what to believe.

And when Jessica receives an anonymous call to meet an informant in a campus building, a perpetrator shoves her down a staircase (a scene filmed in silhouette fashion, this also incorporated into opening "MSW" credits during the run of several seasons).

Still determined to investigate two murders, Jessica tracks down the various suspects, gives David an ultimatum, and manages to assist Lieutenant Andrews in tracking down "Lovers and Other Killers." This episode's title may parody that of the 1970 film "Lovers and Other Strangers," containing an all-star cast, a factor which this program also mirrors.

But, according to IMDb, this "MSW" episode contains the smallest credited cast of the series, while not acknowledging several performers having speaking roles. Its opening graphics also differ from the rest, indicating a separate production method than other Season One episodes, even though it is released as "Season One, Episode 05."

Lory Walsh, whose brief acting career spans from 1977-88, Lois Nettleton, who began her television and film acting career in 1953, and Greg Morris, who began his television and film acting career in 1963, have unfortunately since passed. Greg is the father of actor Phil Morris, who guest stars as David Salt in "MSW" episode 10-05, "A Virtual Murder."

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